Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bochtis, Dionysis, Benos, Lefteris, Lampridi, Maria , Marinoudi, Vasso, Pearson, Simon and Sørensen, Claus G. (2020) Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sustainability, 12 (19). p. 8212. ISSN 2071-1050

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Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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COVID-19 and the restrictive measures towards containing the spread of its infections have seriously affected the agricultural workforce and jeopardized food security. The present study aims at assessing the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on agricultural labor and suggesting strategies to mitigate them. To this end, after an introduction to the pandemic background, the negative consequences on agriculture and the existing mitigation policies, risks to the agricultural workers were benchmarked across the United States’ Standard Occupational Classification system. The individual tasks associated with each occupation in agricultural production were evaluated on the basis of potential COVID-19 infection risk. As criteria, the most prevalent virus transmission mechanisms were considered, namely the possibility of touching contaminated surfaces and the close proximity of workers. The higher risk occupations within the sector were identified, which facilitates the allocation of worker protection resources to the occupations where they are most needed. In particular, the results demonstrated that 50% of the agricultural workforce and 54% of the workers’ annual income are at moderate to high risk. As a consequence, a series of control measures need to be adopted so as to enhance the resilience and sustainability of the sector as well as protect farmers including physical distancing, hygiene practices, and personal protection equipment.

Keywords:coronavirus, occupational health and safety, food security, resilience, control measures
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D400 Agriculture
Divisions:College of Science > Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology
ID Code:43697
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 11:52

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